The Black Orchid

The Black OrchidBBBB

(out of 5)


 is in mourning after the death of her husband, working day and night to make ends while her son is upstate in a juvenile detention centre.  espies this sad beauty while visiting her neighbours and immediately falls in love, begging her to go out with him and refused the pleasure until he breaks through her reserve and makes her smile.  The two seem to be embarking on the road to a rewarding romance, she putting her late husband’s ties to the mob behind her, he finding companionship after losing his wife to mental illness, but there are problems:  Quinn’s daughter () does not like this marked woman that her father is taking up with, while Loren needs to make sure that her son () is okay with the new adult man in her life.  Subtle direction by Martin Ritt and a sensitive script by Joseph Stefano make for an incredibly sweet film that never trivializes the emotional drama of these disappointed and damaged people.  Loren, who shows masterful command of the screen relatively early in her career, responds with subtle intelligence to all the situations her character is put through, transmitting a sense of having been around life’s block without ever pushing her desperation or fatigue too hard; it’s a performance composed of soft smiles and patient reactions and is thoroughly absorbing as a result.  All characters are given their due, including Balin as the daughter whose objections might at first seem like youthful selfishness but turn out to be grounded in something deeper that threatens her own impending marriage (to ).  The investment in these people results in a conclusion that will have you reaching for your closest handkerchief, unlike Stefano’s next foray into child-parent conflict, two years later in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.


Paramount Pictures

USA, 1958

Directed by Martin Ritt

Screenplay by

Cinematography by

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


The Black Orchid4 The Black Orchid3 The Black Orchid2

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s